Empirical Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit.

Empirical Introduces Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit That 'Tastes Like the Real Thing'

5 minutes

Do we really need a Doritos Nacho Cheese spirit? Apparently we do because it's already sold out on the Empirical website.

Empirical has collaborated with Doritos to create what I think is the most unique spirit I've seen in a while, if ever. A limited release, Empirical X Doritos captures the flavour of Doritos in a 42% ABV spirit that they claim tastes like the real thing.

A Doritos Cheese Flavoured Spirit. WHY?

Lars Williams, distiller and CEO at Empirical tells the story in the video below of how this unique Doritos spirit came to be.

A colleague walked in with his lunch, which included a bag of Doritos. Lars was struck with the idea of distilling the cheesy snack into a spirit because, well, why not. That's what they do at Empirical, but more on that below. This was in the early days for Empirical and they were doing a lot of testing and experimenting with distilling different things to see what they could produce that was different and unique.

The result of this ridiculous, crazy experiment actually turned out really well. They started out making it in small batches that they would share with friends and chefs they new to get their opinion, without telling them what it was. Hilarity ensued because of how ridiculous it was.

For those who love Doritos, you can now drink your Doritos!

Lars talks about the flavour components of Doritos including salty, umami, as well as a little sour and bitterness that work very well as a salty snack, but are also just a great flavour that translates well to a spirit that can be used in cocktails like the ones described below.

So What Does it Taste Like?

I cannot tell you how it tastes because it's not available where I live, but some online reviews I've read say it's not just a marketing gimmick, it smells and tastes like Doritos, and it's good with a taste of cheese dust and corn chips. Some say it's more Fritos than Doritos, but everyone's taste is different so your experience may vary.

The consensus is that it's very good in a cocktail.

The Process of Making a Doritos Flavoured Spirit

One of my first questions, and one that has been echoed by many, is why? The second, is how do you get the flavour of Doritos in a spirit? Well, it turns out that Empirical is using crushed Doritos to extract the flavour of real Doritos, and vacuum distillation to ensure those original flavours are preserved throughout the alcohol distillation process.

The result is an explosion of flavour in a spirit that captures the unique taste of Doritos with notes of nacho cheese, corn tostada, and umami with a hint of acidity that can be served over ice, or in one of the cocktail recipes below from the Empirical website.

The Vacuum Distillation Process

Vacuum distillation distills at lower pressure than traditional distillation methods. The lower pressure results in the liquid boiling and being distilled into alcohol at a lower temperature, and that allows for the preservation of organic compounds and flavours that would be destroyed if distilled at the higher temperatures used in a traditional distillation process.

Empirical X Doritos Nacho Cheese spirit. Photo courtesy of Empirical.

Where Can I Drink my Doritos?

This first release is extremely limited, and already sold out on the Empirical website. Empirical products are available at more than 310 stores and bars across the U.S., but they are not available in every state, and are not able to ship to every state.

They are working on a new release which is expected to be available in January 2024. If you are able to get your hands on a bottle, be sure to  try it in one of the cocktail recipes below.

Empirical x Doritos Cocktail Recipes

Here are some cocktail recipes taken from the Empirical website that showcase the versatility of this unique spirit.

The Double Triangle Margarita

The Double Triangle Margarita. Photo courtesy of Empirical.

This recipe is essentially a classic margarita with a twist. It's made with tequila and lime juice, but eliminating the orange liqueur and replacing it with Empirical X Doritos. 


1oz / 3cl Empirical X Doritos

1oz / 3cl Tequila

3/4oz / 2.5cl Fresh Lime Juice

3/4oz / 2.5cl Agave Syrup (3:1)

Tajin salt for rim

Lime wheel for garnish

  1. Rim your lowball glass with Tajin salt mix
  2. Add all your ingredients in a shaker with ice
  3. Hard shake and double strain in your lowball glass over ice

The Mary Mary

The Mary Mary. Photo courtesy of Empirical.

The recipe takes the classic Bloody Mary but replaces the vodka with tequila (appropriate), and adds the flavour of nacho cheese and corn chips to this tomato-based cocktail. What could go better?


1 1/2oz / 4.5l Empirical X Doritos

1/2oz / 1.5cl Tequila

3oz / 9cl tomato juice

Bar spoon lemon juice

Bar spoon Worcestershire sauce

Big pinch of celery salt

Big pinch of cracked black pepper

Tiny pinch of Cayenne pepper

  1. Build all ingredients in a Collins glass
  2. Add ice & pass a bar spoon through the drink 3-4 times
  3. Garnish with pepperoncini, seasoned celery & a pickled onion

The Doritos Bangarang

The Doritos Bangarang. Photo courtesy of Empirical.

A refreshing, thirst-quenching blend of Empirical X Doritos, grapefruit juice, and cola.


2oz / 6cl Empirical X Doritos

Pinch of smoked sea salt

Squeeze of fresh grapefruit

Top up with cola


Add all the ingredients in your highball over ice and gently stir.

Empirical Spirits: An Uncategorized Distillery

Lars Williams and Mark Emil, founders of Empirical, started the distillery in 2017 after leaving their jobs at Noma, a 3-Michelin-star rated restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark.

They founded Empirical with the idea of producing spirits that captured great flavours, without being bound by specific spirits categories. They are not a gin, or vodka producer, they are a spirits producer that use interesting, great tasting raw ingredients, and combine them in ways you do not normally see to produce spirits that are unique and taste great.

They design and build their own distillation equipment, and control the entire process from start to finish.

Empirical is based in Dover, DE.


Be the first to leave a comment.